NICOSIA – An asylum bill amendment that would prohibit automatic deportations from Cyprus for refugees seeking sanctuary because they fear for their lives has Members of Parliament angry they are being circumvented.
Philenews reported the legislation is designed to clarify current immigration law so that a deportation order is struck down automatically if the applicant has a pending asylum case. This comes after many cases were reported where asylum seekers in Cyprus had been unlawfully deported.
An amendment has a provision allowing an administrative court to introduce regulations bypassing the deportation ban in cases deemed necessary at its sole discretion, although that had been ruled unconstitutional by the administrative court, the report said.
It noted that Cyprus has lost cases in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) where judges found the state violated rights of asylum seekers to seek protection in cases where they had expressed fear of persecution, torture, threat to life or freedom because of human rights violations or armed conflict.
Reports said legislators sought to strike a balance between affording rights to asylum seekers and stopping abuse of the system for the time being.